People often think if they are diagnosed with OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) they will be strapped up to a CPAP the rest of their lives. They avoid speaking to healthcare professionals because they know they won’t wear it. Good news, that is simply NOT the reality of Sleep Medicine today. Many factors contribute to OSA and therefore many different treatment options.
Symptoms of Sleep apnea can include:
- Lack of energy
- Mood changes
- Lack of concentration
- Frequent Nighttime urination
- A weakened immune system
Research shows us that untreated OSA can shorten one's life up to a decade. If you have more than a few of the above symptoms, it is critical that you speak to your health care professional. Another effective screening tool is the Epworth. Diagnosis is very simple and can even be done in the comfort of your own home. Most insurance companies will cover the Home Sleep test kits and have found them to yield more accurate results. Once you have a diagnosis, it is important to get treatment, a treatment you can be successful with.
70% of people find, for various reasons, they are unable to tolerate a CPAP & find themselves in search of other alternatives. Fortunately there are options. This is where your dental professional can be a life saver. Though not all dental professionals are trained to evaluate and treat patients with breathing disorders, it is a very natural fit for orthodontists.
Dental Professionals and Sleep Apnea
Working with a team of healthcare professionals, an orthodontist may be the one that provides you with your final solutions. Rather than masking sleep apnea with things like medication or CPAP machines or even painful surgeries, an effective team will work together to find where the airway constriction is and make corrections that may eventually relieve the sleep apnea altogether.
Dental related OSA Treatment Options:
Orthodontic treatment with Braces or Invisalign
Dental Jaw expansion - surgical or nonsurgical
Dental professionals are the only ones who legally are able to provide and treat you with an oral appliance (OA). There are many different styles of OA’s that have been shown to work well with sleep apnea patients. Depending on the set of circumstances, these oral appliances may or may not be used in conjunction with a CPAP machine.
A tongue-retaining mouthpiece is designed to keep the tongue from falling back and blocking the airway while you sleep. To keep the air flowing, this mouthpiece uses light suction to keep the tongue in place so you can breathe freely. This apparatus does not require you to have a great range of movement of the joints in your jaw.
Another OA is the mandibular advancement device, sometimes referred to as a MAD. Similar in appearance to a mouth guard that athletes use, this appliance fits over your teeth - the top and the bottom - with a hinge connecting them in the center. At Demko Orthodontics, a pharyngometer is used to determine the most comfortable and ideal position the jaw should rest in to optimally open your airway and allow air to move into your lungs.
Your dental specialist will communicate with your medical specialist to determine the best approach should a CPAP not suit your needs and an OA be an option. While some devices may be found over-the-counter, caution should be taken as they do not provide the quality or attention that you get in your dentist professional’s office.
A Team Effort
You don’t have to settle for your current treatment plan. Any Dental Professional can review your medical history, look at your oral health, and spot signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. They can often be the key person who gets you to the right person to help preserve your overall health. And, treating sleep apnea becomes a team effort that can lead to the best solutions.
For someone who has severe sleep apnea, dental appliances and treatment may help in addition to your medical doctor’s recommendations. However, for mild cases, a simple oral appliance may be all you need to feel refreshed.
Let Demko Orthodontics Help With Your Sleep Apnea
At Demko Orthodontics, we know just how important quality sleep is to your overall health. Our doctor will work with you through every step, working with the dentist, ENT’s, and sleep clinics to get you the best options, the best care, and the best results.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or suspect that you may have it, request a free consultation. We work with a team of healthcare professionals to get you the best treatment - and, ultimately, the best sleep.
Call us today:
St. Charles 636-946-6503